Recently I did some binge cleaning of my office and came across an index box filled with very old business cards. On the front of the box were these three words:
Meet, woo and win
That’s always been a motto of mine for sales and event sponsorship. No matter what new information comes out about making a good sale, keeping a client, etc., for me, it has always gone back to those three words.
Where did they come from? About 25 years ago I worked for the Canadian Booksellers Association, which is now part of the Retail Council of Canada. I had been hired to bring the successful Book Tokens program to Canada from England. I won’t go into why it wasn’t that popular here or the firsts that we did with electronic funds transfers that are so common today.
I want to talk about the part of the role that was to get publishers to buy into the Canadian program. We called them Captains of Industry. Essentially, in today’s world, it was about sponsorship from publishers; it was about getting stores to become sellers of the certificates and the public to buy the book tokens. Sound familiar?
So, how did I do it? I created a program for each stakeholder and then marketed it. Sound simple? Not really.
First I gathered the information about:
- The Captains of Industry. Which publishers would want to be a part of bringing this successful program to Canada?
- Then I met them – with a variety of programs, meeting one on one, doing press conferences, etc.
- This is where I wooed them. What was in it for them? Who else did I have on tap that meant X publisher had to be involved?
- Then I sold them.
Ditto for the bookstores and those who patronized bookstores.
Sound simple? How is this different with what we do today to gain customers, clients and to keep them? We now have the benefit of technology and mining a large variety of databases.
The second part of this was really crucial: The meeting of those that could help us and ensure we provided credibility and passion for the program.
So, next time you need to do a sales campaign or event sponsorship drive, think about meeting, wooing and winning. Bottom line, know your product or service and really understand your end user.
P.S.: This was the most challenging and awesome job I’ve ever had!